Cameroon: Bandenkop Palace

West-central Cameroon is full of villages, each of which is its own separate kingdom, with centuries old traditions of kings going back to 16-17th centuries. The area is often referred to as Fondoms, for over 100 different kingdoms spread over the hilly high altitude terrain. The first kingdom we visited was Bandenkop. There is a sprawling gated king’s palace with several rounds of gates, and many conical-shaped buildings of different shapes and size. The king’s residence hall is in the heart of the palace complex, off limits for visits. The kings rule here for entire life usually (only 14 in power in Bandenkop since the 17th century). The kings has unlimited number of wives (usually over a 100) and his rule overrides anything coming from the government. There is a lot of ritual, spirits and ancestor soul communication, secret societies, and voodoo-like traditions. And every village around is the same!